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Water boards owed K30 billion in bills

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By Tione Andsen:

NGWIRA—Water boards are struggling

The country’s water boards are still owed K30 billion in water bills from government ministries, departments and agencies, according to the Water Services Association of Malawi (Wasama).

Wasama Executive Secretary Dokani Ngwira revealed this in Lilongwe on Friday during a press briefing regarding the Covid-19 threat in the country.

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Ngwira said the total bill decreased to K23 billion by the end of 2019 after some payments were made but the amount has increased due to unpaid bills that have been added on that amount ever since.

“Efforts were made to install prepaid meters in order to reduce the burden of accumulative water bills but the effort has not covered all departments. Installation of such meters at office was costing water boards a K120,000 while for domestic use it is only K40,000 per meter. Water boards are spending more on the exercise but they are still failing to recover their money,” Ngwira explained.

He added that the government owes Lilongwe Water Board K8.5 billion, Northern Region Water Board K4 billion, Central Region Water Board K3.9 billion, Blantyre Water Board K 4.5 billion and Southern Region Water Board K 9.1 billion in water bills.

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According to Ngwira, failure to pay the bills is making the boards fail to implement a number of projects related to improved water supply.

“Water boards are struggling financially to make new water connections to their customers and extend their water supplies to other areas within their operating zones. We would like to encourage all those that owe the board money to pay up as soon as possible,” he said.

Water and Sanitation Network National Coordinator Willies Mwandira has since appealed to the ministries, departments and agencies to pay up their bills so that the water boards can improve service delivery.

He also said failure to pay the bills is impinging on the utility bodies’ duty in providing water which is also crucial in fighting the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. —Mana

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